Legendary comic book writer Stan Lee dies at 95
Stan Lee, the co-creator of Marvel Comics, has died at age 95.
He started Marvel in 1939, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and co-created some of the most iconic superheroes in modern lore, including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.
Variety reported that he was taken to Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles Monday after a medical emergency and died there. He had earlier suffered from pneumonia.
Here are five things that made his life as jaw-dropping as the superhero movies based on his characters that have taken a prominent position in the American pop-culture limelight.
Cameos in every Marvel movie
Stan Lee made a cameo appearance in each of the Marvel movies. He was easy to spot, but it became one of the pleasant little inside-joke moments Marvel movies gave fans — one of the things he did that turned comic book fans into a community.
Sometimes he would play himself, such as in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” where he demands to be let into a gathering and says “I’m Stan Lee!” Other times he would simply appear as a bystander, like in “The Amazing Spider Man,” where he listens casually to headphones and Spider Man fights a lizard man in the background.
Stan Lee once revealed what he thought the best superpower would be.
When a boy said a superhero he made was called “Love Man,” Lee said “If somebody could make love instead of hate throughout the world then I would say he would be the greatest super hero of all,” according to the Queensland Times.
As for his own characters? Lee said in a documentary interview that he didn’t have a favorite.
“When I was writing each one, that was my favorite at the moment ... I’ve been so busy just working on them that I’ve never had time to think of who my favorites were. They’re all like my children anyway,” he said.
Lee is an actual hero
Stan Lee was a military veteran who served in World War 2. Lee enlisted in the army after hearing of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, according to the Department of Defense.
He worked in the Signal Corps designing posters and doing technical writing for soldiers. He was one of nine soldiers designated as a playwright, the Associated Press reported.
“This is one of my proudest moments,” Lee said at a ceremony he was honored with a lifetime membership in the Signal Corps, according to the DOD.
He tackled the times
The story of the X-Men is widely credited to be an allegory for the struggle for Civil Rights. The mutants, who struggle with having superpowers, face prejudice from hostile humans.
“The main objective was to show that bigotry is a terrible thing,” Lee said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “If you needed an objective for a superhero story!”
The oft-repeated line, “With great power comes great responsibility” was coined in one of Lee’s characters’ comics. Uncle Ben told Peter Parker — AKA Spider Man — that famous line in “Amazing Fantasy” #15, Spidey’s first-ever comic book appearance
Lee was also the creator of the Black Panther, whose film adaptation would go on to become one of the highest grossing films ever — with an almost entirely black cast.
Black Panther was the first mainstream black comic book superhero, first appearing in July 1966.
Stan Lee, talk show host?
There is actual footage of Stan Lee trying on hosting a talk show for size.
“The magazines that I edit, we have all sorts of subliminal messages in these magazines, but we don’t do anything in the magazine that would turn any segment of the readership away from us, at least we don’t do it intentionally,” he said in the 1968 pilot for a show, according to Comics Beat.